Gun Gear

Summertime Concealed Carry: Gear and Tips

You can blame global warming for all I care, but whatever the cause, summertime means warm temperatures. As the mercury heads north, concealing your firearm becomes more difficult. However, the threat is just as high or higher than it has ever been, and leaving my firearm at home is an option I refuse to consider. So, I began looking for warm weather solutions. If you are of the same mind, here are a few tips, tricks, and alternative ways to carry a firearm without telegraphing or sacrificing your safety.

Concealed Carrie Leather Satchel Distressed Leather Brown
Concealed Carrie Leather Satchel Distressed Leather Brown

Tips

Stay Dry

Stay dry with breathable clothing. Stretchy fabrics with wicking properties are the ticket! They are much cooler than you might imagine, and most importantly, keep moisture away from the body. You’ll stay dry and have a barrier between your skin and holster or firearm.

Chafing

Chafing dovetails quite closely with staying dry to be honest. Chafing is a serious downer for a couple of reasons. First off, the less comfortable you feel when carrying, the less likely you are to carry. Secondly, the less comfortable your carry, the more you are going to fidget. This gives away a serious tactical advantage. An undershirt and holster with an “ear” that rises above the gun will help considerably. Another seasoned tip is to use a touch of baby powder or Gold Bond, or any of the roll-ons that are popular with athletes such as Glide for a more comfortable ride.

Alternative Carry

Waistband

I believe it is safe to say, the majority of  us carrying use either an outside the waistband (OWB) or inside the waistband (IWB) holster. With longer, thicker garments, this prevents printing and properly conceals your firearm. However, when shedding layers—and perhaps carrying a few extra pounds from the winter months—this is not as solid an option. When the weather is mild, below 80 or so degrees, a t-shirt and cover garment will allow you to easily carry with your IWB and likely your OWB holster. The key is having a garment that moves with you, not independently. For example, a slight breeze blows the shirt open and reveals your sidearm.

Bullet Proof Outfitters Ballistic Backpack
Bullet Proof Outfitters Ballistic Backpack

One of my favorite off body carry bags features a NIJ Rating 3A ballistic panel capable of stopping up to a .44 Magnum. This not only allows you to continue carrying a firearm, it offers a degree of protection. The panel fits discreetly in the backpack and meets all Federal requirement to carry through an airport or on a plane.

Bullet Proof Outfitters and
Magnum Safety Academy

467 Maple Street
Danvers, MA 01923
978.815.6989
mike@mabs777.com

Belly Band Holsters

Belly Band holsters work better than they look. I used to do a fair amount of personal protection work at high profile events in a tuxedo that did not afford the best concealment. I often wore a belly band holster with my back-up gun. Given the way I was dressed, it was not as easily accessible as I would have liked, but it was secure and well concealed, which were primary concerns. However, when simply wearing a t-shirt and shorts, belly band holsters are a viable option and allow quick access—they are also about half or less of the price of holsters.

Ankle Holsters

Ankle holsters are another popular method of carry for warm weather. Of course, you can’t be dressed in shorts, but a pair of jeans and a tight-fitting t-shirt will work just fine. Personally, I have never been a fan. Then again, I have never really spent enough time wearing an ankle holster to give much insight. Perhaps some of the readers of this article will chime in with a comment and personal experience and recommendations.

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies

Women have options that (most) men do not. I have a lot less experience wearing a bra or dress than an ankle holster, so I cannot speak to the effectiveness, but thigh holsters and bra type holsters such as the Flash Bang come to mind. Both have application and are worth looking into when your wardrobe dictates.

Off-Body Carry

Off-body carry is one of my favorite options, and one I employ often. I have several Diversion Packs from Blackhawk, leather satchels, laptop cases, and other bags that allow me to carry covertly without having the firearm under a garment. The downside is speed. In the case of a personal confrontation where you are forced to immediately draw and shoot, you are at a disadvantage. Sweeping away a cover garment and immediately presenting a weapon from a waistband holster is faster. However, when walking through the oceanfront sand wearing shorts without a shirt, a backpack is not out of place, but offer a degree of protection.

Though the ankle soxXx is tight, the fit is perfect. There is no slippage or movement at all.
Though the ankle soxXx is tight, the fit is perfect. There is no slippage or movement at all.

To compensate for a reduction in draw speed, I like to add a ballistic panel to my backpack. In an active shooter situation, you can, at least, cover your vitals organs.

There are other options such as groin carry, shoulder rigs, pocket holsters, and purses designed for concealed carry. Get creative and don’t be afraid to try a few different solutions. Not all methods of carry will work for every person or situation. I like options that allow me the maximum amount of flexibility based on my situation and required dress and you should too.

What is your favorite method of carry for warm weather? What tips can you share with other readers? Share your tips and tricks in the comment section.

[dave]

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Comments (38)

  1. I LOVED the Sig p938! Shoots great, feels terrific. Easy to be accurate. And it recoils like a .380, instead of the 9mm that it is. The only reason I didn’t get it was weight (and to a much lesser extent, size). I knew I just wouldn’t carry it regularly.

    Now, the Sig p238…yeah! Same attributes as the p938, but way lighter. Recoils like a .22 on steroids, that’s it. And with an extended clip and 7 + 1 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense .380 onboard, it weighs just over pound. Feels and shoots like a much bigger gun. I have the rosewood grips, fantastic for my oversize mitts. I love it.

  2. How about this
    I worked my ass off starting at the age of 14 and still went to school, so that’s how I’m able to live where I live. So F off

  3. I was a police officer in both the Los Angeles and Phoenix metro areas for over 30 years, so know something about the heat and carried religiously on and off duty. Also, I never liked carrying small, low cap, mediocre calibers as a primary. I used to carry both on and off duty a 1911, .45ACP. It is big but thin. Later, I was forced to carry a Glock so went with a 21 on duty and a 30 as on duty secondary and off duty primary (smaller but thick with good capacity). Of course, I ALWAYS carry a spare mag tucked in somewhere.

    The best, practical carry that I found was IWB, either strong side or appendix. The key is to buy shirts a size or two larger and in some kind of pattern, the more intricate the better, to hide any “printing”. I found cotton better than wicking synthetics simply because cotton is usually thicker material which drapes better than clingy synthetics. This works even with the “tuck-in” type of holster; because the shirt is over sized, it blouses out over the gun. You don’t get style points for being chic.

    The belly-band conceals well if it’s pulled up onto the chest (not the belly) and spun to hold the gun just in front of and below the armpit (similar to a shoulder holster). The negative; the draw is slow and awkward. Similarly, I have used shoulder holsters under large shirts but again, the draw is bad.

    Ankle holsters…no. The draw is terrible, ability to move is non-existent, doesn’t work with shorts and since bell bottoms are no longer in fashion, my kind of gun leaves a conspicuous bulge.

    Carrying without a shirt? That is a real problem. I guess that’s when you go to a bag or the little guns I hate in a pocket. I just inconvenience myself and always wear a shirt.

    I have always been against off body carry. If you are robbed, what is the first thing they going to demand?…The bag you are carrying. You just gave them another gun.

    Carrying concealed in heat requires a real desire to carry because it will also require some changes to how you dress and act…but it can be done.

  4. Why don’t you get and carry a bazooka or hand grenades it’s much more effective, oh wait I think it makes more sence to move to a safer place, unless your going to arm your wife and kids as well. wow why didn’t you think of that? Use your brain if you have one? Idiots .

  5. Ok first you never read what I posted if you had you would have read that I am not a liberal in fact just the opposite. Second a gated community is in fact not as safe as a non gated community. Why you may ask well I will tell you. They are a prime target for criminals as there is no cops and no way for them to be in there. Get your head out of your ass and wake up.if you are in a gated community you can afford to move to a safe place. Third go back to school and learn how to spell!

  6. This the man that posted the words of just move if your not in a save neighborhood

    Are you kidding me? Your a joke, I live in a gated Community that’s in one of the top 20 cities to live in, (as of the last 20 plus years). And there is been a rise in home invasions around here. I talking about people just sitting on the porch or sitting in the yard . This year I think 3 people have need killed this was. And you have the balls to tell me or someone else to move to a safer neighborhood . Get your liberal head out of your ¥¥¥¥ you know what. and how do you think that people that are on disability or Social security can just get up and move. You live in a bubble and have no clue as to how the real world is.

    1. OK. Mr “know it all” Hess. Oh. And Mr. “agree with stupid” Ringolevio. Pay attention. When my wife and I lived in Fl. she had her own cleaning business. Of the 40 customers that she cleaned for, 32 of them lived in “gated communities”. She had to keep up with 32 different ” key cards” to gain entrance to clean their houses. The average home in these communities cost at least $200,000. So please explain to me how someone on disability or SSI (in case you don’t know what that is) (social security) can afford a place like that. And, if she forgot a key card or misplaced one she couldn’t gain entrance. Now I figure you would say, “why not use someone else’s card to get in”? Well, Mr Smartie pants. Each card was keyed to the day of the week that she was to be there. I know– you read it on the internet so it has to be true. So maybe you and Ringo need to get your heads outta your butts and wake up. And besides, what does anything you said, have to do with the article that you posted this on????

    2. Boy, there must be a convention going on. And it seems to be a convention of morons. Morons with attitude.

  7. Crossbread IWB with an S&W 9mm Shield seems to work well with shorts and Hawaiian shirt, or loose tee shirt. If the shirt has an intense pattern on it, that helps protect against imprinting. I even carry it with my 8 round magazine.

  8. When I was a police officer I carried a backup in an ankle holster. One day while a suspect was resisting arrest I noticed a gun fall to the street at this time I became much more aggressive until I was able to cuff and stuff him. When I recovered the gun I was shocked to discover that it was my ankle gun. All holsters must be comfortable and secure!

  9. I change weapons for the clothes I’m wearing. I carry a Sig P250 OWB with jeans and Hawaiian shirts and in church clothes. Shorts and t-shirt gets my Kel Tec 32 in a Bulldog holster. In the current state of affairs, where you can’t even practice baseball without a possible threat, there’s no way i that I’m unarmed. In the house and outside, I carry to protect my family and yours.

  10. I live in Florida, so it’s hot most of the year. T-shirt and shirt weather most of the year. And very humid. I have tried holsters but always end up printing. Even IWB holsters with a forward cante. The trick, I agree, is wicking T-shirts & wicking shorts. I have also found through much experimentation with 1911’s that they always print. So I’ve switched my thinking and now carry Glock 36 with a clip attachment. All my clothes are a size to big and I have to pull my my boxer briefs up a bit more than usual, to keep the firearm from touching skin, but it works. I don’t print at all. I’d also have to not recommend cross draw. As it puts he firearm in a very bad position in a hand to hand situation because most people are right handed. Your attacker has more access to your firearm than you do.

  11. My suggestion is that you move to a place that is much safer. If your living in an area that is so unsafe that you feel a need to carry year round, move. Now I no I will get jumpted on but know this I am not a liberal and I have had a carry permit since I was 21 and I am now 67. I do not carry as I do not feel a need to do so. I am not trying to be a wise ass, think about this situation. Doc

    1. now, Doc,
      not every one can live
      that wonderful place you do,
      where you don’t even carry.

      Where I live,
      central FLA,… hot…, rabid animals going crazy,
      and those humanoids driving around with stereos
      shaking the windows for 3 blocks.
      We try to stay ready,
      Ruger LCp in an abdo conceal case on the belt
      a 5 shot 22 mag in the front pocket,
      a sig p230 380auto in the car rapid access safe in the back floorboard,
      and a high standard 22 mag double action Derringer in a wallet access holster in the rain jacket pocket.
      Nice to see an article about staying vigilant
      and carry concealed … keep up the good work,
      Mr.D.

    2. Doc, it’s great that you took time out from sprinkling fairy dust on your unicorn to express your opinion. But those of us who live in the real world wonder WTF you’re even doing reading or commenting on this topic if it doesn’t relate to you.

    3. Please give us a list of “safe” places to move to. I currently live in a very nice neighborhood, but have found that crime is also on the rise. When we moved here, it was a new, higher end development, known for low crime events. Unfortunately, crime has moved out to our area, as well. I would really like to know where those “safe” areas are. Thanks in advance.

  12. I wear an ankle holster a lot of times, been doing it for years. Once you get used to it is very comfortable. But your are right I live in Fl and the heat can cause chaffing, I wear an under shirt and use an OWB holster when using a tee shirt.

  13. I use a few holsters. I carry with a out side pants holster when every I can were a long t shirt or a button down and do the cross draw that way it’s easy when I’m in my car to reach my gun. I carry a full size 5″ barrel 1911 45. I’m only 5’7″ and 170lbs and I make sure to canted it forward. A way the the butt does not show . But must times when I have blue jeans on I use my shoulder holster that carries 2 mags on my right and the gun on the left. The trick is to have it setup as high and possible and have the barrel going up as far as it can, that way no one can see anything printed on my shirt. They are making so many shirts now for hot days that I wear a thin t-shirt and then A button up shirt and only use the lower two Buttons, just incase the wind starts up , just enough to get my hand inside the draw my weapon . I make sure that all my gear is a light tan color. Black shows though light summer clothes, I find that the tan does not show though my summer clothes. I don’t use the shoulder holsters that have the attachments that snap onto my belt so it’s more free moving, more natural movement and all. I have found that useing the tie down snaps show the gun though my shirt when ever I bend over
    As I said I’m only 5′ 7″ and 170lbs no one ever sees or knows I’m carrying
    I’ve stood around cops for hours and they never knew I was carrying, and this is with a full siz 1911 45 with a 5″ barrel and two extra mags , just make sure you get a shoulder holster with a great snaps. I had a cheaper ones and the snaps would pop off , so don’t be a cheap skate with one .

  14. Hawaiian print shirts or fishing shirts are great summer outer shirts that are worn loose and untucked.

    I never leave home without my weapon – anymore than I would leave home without my pants on.

  15. I carry OWB cross draw from Desantis leather out of New York. Extremely comfortable and effective. Many options available. Cover it with Hawaiian shirt or untucked T shirt.

  16. I carry a planner with me most of the time. So I found one that has a holster inside a flap on one side. Planner pages on the other. I go everywhere with it unzipped and just a Velcro strap to remove. A little more time but definitely faster for me than an ankle or other summer holster

  17. I have a DeSantis ‘sticky’ pocket holster. The attached tag says “P6” (model number?). It comes with a detachable flap that completely prevents printing, in the event that the main holster body allows too much visibility…it depends a lot on your particular firearm and the fabric of your pants…with thick jeans and a SIG Sauer P238, no flap necessary; with light cotton shorts (same P238), the flap is necessary.

    I recommend this pocket holster if you have fairly light carry (mine’s a bit over a pound, with clip/ammo included).

    1. My wife and I both use the DeSantis “sticky” IWB holster. We carry Sig 238’s, or a Sig 938. The gun stays in place and is readily accessible. We practice often enough that we regularly put two to the chest and two to the head on our targets at 6 yards. We are working on lowering our times to under 4 secs for 4 rounds. These Sigs are great. No jams with factory ammo, after 4500 rounds each thru the 238’s and over 3,000 rounds with the 938.

  18. The best concealment advice is simply to stay lean. At 235 pounds, I had the usual hassle experimenting with holsters and cover garments. At 190 pounds, I can carry easily under most of my T-shirts. Various friends have challenged me with their various gun/holster setups, and so far they’ve all worked. (No Desert Eagles yet!). Granted, I’m wearing clothes 45 pounds too big for me, but everyone around here looks pretty slobby, so I blend in just fine.

  19. Fanny pack was not mentioned. I wear shorts in the summer and have carried in a fanny pack for over twenty years. I’m at the age now that I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks about wearing a fanny pack.

  20. For me here in the Deep South anything other than pocket carry is totally unexceptable. IWB is fine as long as you’re indoors. Five minutes outside and you and your holster are covered in sweat. For years my EDC was the Ruger lcp for summer time. Excellent choice.This year I purchased a Kahr cm9 and I have a new love now.

  21. Please have someone review these articles before posting. This one is very poorly written. There are incomplete sentences, missing words, and things that just don’t make sense. If you want to get good ideas across, a well-written article is essential.

  22. Well for many of us in states that allow it there is the option of open carry which I do all the time.

  23. For women: women still wear maxi dresses/skirts in the summer. I like my Sticky Holster ankle biter but I wear it just below my knee: Favorite carry. I have a Sticky Holster for each of my handguns. Next choice: if I’m wearing a loose untucked shirt with pants/shorts with belt loops is one of my Bond Arms pistols in the BAD holster. OWB on the belt. Tied for second is a belly band. I actually like the belly band and leg holsters best for all-around freedom of movement and activity. I don’t do off-body carry unless there is absolutely no other option.
    I carry a SP101 revolver or my Bond Arms pistols. Those are HEAVY guns with external hammer so I have to be very selective about how to carry. LOVE my firearms!

  24. My favorite ultimate concealed carry for any occasion or for any time of year is Thunderwear. It can be worn by both men & women regardless of your clothing selection. Check it out at thunderwear.com

  25. In the article above is every carry method except the coolest. I used this method 20 years ago when concealed carry was a glimmer in some gunner’s eye and it still works today. The only thing that has changed is the cool max t-shirt that replaced the cotton one. Forst one buys an excellent shoulder holster. Unfortunately the Strong Holster company in Gloucester, MA only make holsters for other companies in today’s market, but I wear their “Second Chance” shoulder holster which holds the weapon in an inverted holster that rides at approximately a 45 degree angle upwards from horizontal; this puts a six inch barrel resting just outside my armpit. I wear a loose nylon windbreaker over the rig and a t-shirt. Zipped up 4 inches, no-one can ascertain that I’m carrying. Back in the 80’s I went to the carpenter’s union hall in Hartford CT with my S&W model 19 in such a rig and waited some 4 hours for a job to be posted ‘on the board’. Nothing was available so 3 or 4 of us decided to repair to an old field next to the CT river to do some target practice. On the way I, in the backseat next to a fellow carpenter, got into a conversation about concealed carry. He was quite upset about people wearing a holster under their shirt when one could discern the shape of the holster and weapon. I turned to him and asked if he thought I was carrying. He said certainly not as he had not noticed anything out of the ordinary. Then I asked him what he would think if I told him that i had been carrying the 4 or 5 hours that I’d been in the hall. He sat with his mouth open for a few minutes when I unzipped my jacket and showed him my .357 in my shoulder holster. Now CT cannot tiouch AL in the summer for humidity, but it gets just as hot temperature wise in CT as it does in AL!

  26. The “Belly Band” is a great Summer carry option as well is a thigh or garter holster, I like to wear cargo shorts and cut the bottom out of the pocket for easy access. I would never go with an off-body carry option!

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